E the big brother


As B2s arrival draws ever closer - I will be on maternity leave in approximately 10 weeks - I am starting to give a lot of thought to the enormous changes ahead for Ethan, how they will affect him and what Scott and I can do to prepare him and make the whole process as easy as possible on him.

Being very much a 'mumma's boy' (much to my delight), quite sensitive and not even yet two years old, I know there is going to be an emotional time ahead for all of us as we adjust to another little person joining our family but its important to me we start out as a bigger family from the best possible place and for me, research and preparation helps.

I've mentioned Dr Sears before when we were going through some sleep and weaning issues with E and our success with their suggestions so I was pleased to find they also had tips for introducing a new baby. They're quite simple really and pretty much common sense with a big emphasis on communication and involving your older child in the changes - you can find them at http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/discipline-behavior/bothersome-behaviors/sibling-rivalry/introducing-new-baby-11

Other mummas' who have shared tips have been my best source here though and this is what I have so far that I believe will work for us and are in Ethan's best interests:

  • Have Ethan come to the hospital as soon as possible after the birth to meet the baby and have Scott ask if he wants to bring a special toy for his new sibling and or a drawing for me. Its also suggested to keep the visit fairly short and have a special activity planned for after like a park or similar.
  • Try to have hands free when Ethan arrives so I can focus on greeting him before introducing him to the baby. and once introduced, allow him as much contact with the baby as possible. Show him the baby's body and let him touch the baby.
  • Involve him at the hospital - prop a picture of Ethan by my hospital bed and make sure he sees it. Ask his opinion about what the baby might be saying when s/he cries or which blanket he thinks the baby wants to be wrapped in. Tell him stories of what she looked or sounded like when he was born and take photos of him with the baby.
  • Consider giving Ethan a gift from the baby to help break the ice at that first meeting. However the warning is that doing this may stretch the limits of logic, even for a toddler and to keep in mind that your children will be more likely to develop a close relationship if you let them find their own ways of bonding.
  • Don't assume Ethan will be unhappy or upset at having a new sibling. While it's normal for a child to feel uneasy about the addition of a new member to the family, don't assume that he will feel displaced by the new baby. Often, children are delighted and interested in the new baby and more confused about how their parent has changed.
  • Take time to simply listen and support whatever feelings Ethan has and know that, with time, relationships will settle in.

The plan is to buy E a baby boy Cabbage Patch doll to give him so that he can have a 'baby' to look after  while I care for the new baby as we have found he mimics much of what we do and this will help to have him involved in the day to day nursing etc.

I've also given some thought to putting together some new things to have on hand both at the hospital and at home to entertain E or keep him occupied while I am tending to baby. This is what I've come up with:

  1. Books are a big hit here so they will come in handy during nursing time where I can read to E while feeding baby. 
  2. Activity books and crafting like the Crayola packs will be handy when he visits in hospital and also for us to sit and do while baby has some tummy/playmat/swing time or if I'm really lucky, a nap!
  3. Yo Gabba Gabba dvd and similar to have when I need to get things done... you know, like dinner, eat, clean.
  4. Buzz Lightyear action doll. E is obsessed with Toy Story and his Woody doll he got for Christmas so we thought this would be a fun big ticket item to pull out when the baby and I get home from hospital.
  5. Sticker books are another easy one as E loves stickers and anything dinosaur or digger related.
  6. A Boon snack box to pack each morning with healthy treats for E to save time on preparation etc throughout the day.
I will add a few other knick knacks I find  in the coming months from the dollar shops and maybe even wrap some of them up to make it all a little more exciting.

Any other thoughts, recommendations or hints you can share?

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  1. Some great ideas you have there! I did a few similar things when #2 arrived, #1 was the first to meet the baby before everyone else, I had my hands free to greet him and the baby gave him a digger book. After a cursory glance at the baby, we read the book before he wanted to leave to go to the park outside my hospital room! I built it up much more in my mind but he was very easygoing about the whole situation. My Mum kept my old Cabbage Patch dolls and we gave one to him, so it was his "baby". He wasn't interested at all! In the end, my #2, who is now 3, claimed the Cabbage Patch doll and it's his! Good luck. You sound really prepared.

    1. Thank you lovely - good to know from an accomplished mummy of 3 ;)
      I suspect it may be the same in our case re making it bigger in my mind but that's me all over ha ha.

  2. I wish I'd seen this list or one like it a few months ago - Hugo had a bit of a hard time.
    I found blowing bubbles for him helped when I was feeding 24/7. They stopped him from climbing on me (or running into walls).
    When my younger sister was born 'she' gave me one of those pound puppies toys that used to be popular, and I had a cabbage patch doll I named Eric. I still have both: they are very old now, she's 25!

    1. My most sincere apologies Kacie that our pregnancies weren't more in sync :)
      Seriously, great advice re the bubbles as E loves bubbles!!
      That's so cute you still have your CPK & pound puppy - I got a CPK when my brother was born that I still have too and he's 30!


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